Hi Laura,
Below is my answer to your question "How did you find work, when you
started your career?"

My first several projects (at least!) were for people I knew or for people
who were referred to me by someone I knew.

These days my website does bring me some work, but I think the majority of
projects I work on can be traced back to someone I know. I have acquired
some excellent clients thanks to volunteering at a local nature reserve and
to being active in SONSI (

My advice to anyone who is looking for illustration work:

1) Be active in your community – though not for the express purpose of
getting work. Volunteer, join clubs, be social, engage. Not only is it good
for the soul, but someday one of those relationships will probably lead to
work - and it might be in the most unexpected way.

2) While working on a project, don't fear asking for help from scientists
or other content experts. The worst that can happen is that they won't
reply; the best that can happen is that someone enthusiastic about the
subject your illustrating is really helpful and now knows you exist and
might hire you in the future. If they do help you, be sure to thank them
with a card or print featuring your work.

3) Have a website and put as much good quality work up there as you can.
Sometimes people will end up at your website after searching for an
illustration of something specific. Do keep in mind that potential clients
who find you via your website are likely to hire you to do the same type of
work that they see in your portfolio.

4) Others might say to be active on social media. Personally I have not
maximized the potential of social media, but I can say that (for me)
Twitter is definitely showing potential (I just joined last month).
*Emily S. Damstra*
natural science illustration
Guelph, Ontario
(519) 616-3654
*[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>*
Twitter: @EmilyDamstra

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